Who says honeymoons should only be at the start of a marriage? Twenty-five years after their first, this couple have the second honeymoon of their dreams on the islands of French Polynesia
Your first honeymoon should be full of starry-eyed romance, perfect sunsets and stunning scenery. Unfortunately for Debora and Chris Everard, their honeymoon began with budget motels and hotdogs and ended with Chris in the hospital after suffering from a severe sunburn.
Twenty-five years later, they finally got the honeymoon of their dreams on the beaches of Bora Bora and sailing around the islands in French Polynesia. Here’s to second honeymoons done right (age does have its benefits).
Chris: There’s no way we could have afforded such a luxurious honeymoon when we were first married. Debora worked for British Airways back then, so we flew first class to San Francisco for a tenner each, rented a wreck of a car and drove down the Californian coast on a budget of a few hundred dollars. We shopped in supermarkets for Rolling Rock and hot dogs and stayed in motels; we hadn’t booked anything. At one point, I even had to trade my jacket for a room!
We had to cut the trip short because we fell asleep after a picnic on Monterey Beach and I got so badly sunburnt on that I ended up in hospital. I felt really ill and my skin was blistering all down one side. Not exactly romantic!
In any case, we’d run out of money, and we had to wait two days on standby for the plane home.
Our second honeymoon couldn’t have been more different. It was like turning the clock back and being married with no children. When we were first married we didn’t have much time on our own because our daughter was born a year after our wedding. On our second honeymoon we had freedom, time and financial independence – plus the experience and wisdom to know what to do with it.
The holiday was a great opportunity to spend three weeks together as a couple. Everything was new and different. It made me remember that I’m never bored with Debora.
Debora: We both wanted our second honeymoon to be a one-off, paradise island holiday – something much more luxurious than our first! French Polynesia had never crossed our radar until a bespoke travel agent suggested it. Also, I speak French, which we knew would help us really get to the heart of the place.
As soon as we arrived on Raiatea, an island near Tahiti in the South Pacific Ocean, we felt we’d dropped into a totally different world. Just getting there on tiny sea planes and speed boats was an adventure in itself. We spent the first week completely alone in a very simple but luxurious beach house with a gourmet restaurant.
Being so far away from everything and everyone, and so completely out of our normal life, brought us closer together. We had time to talk, time to reconnect, time to enjoy beautiful meals and beautiful sunsets across the aquamarine lagoon.
But it was the second week, which we spent on a luxury catamaran with three Italian honeymooning couples, which really made us reflect on our 25 years together. Talking to them about their hopes for the future, and about how we had overcome the inevitable problems of married life, made us think back to our own honeymoon.
I was flattered that they wanted to know how we still seemed so in love. At the same time it felt like quite a responsibility! I wanted them to realise that life isn’t a honeymoon all the time, and that the important thing is to keep talking and to make time for each other.
Every day we would stop at a different island, where we’d chop down coconuts and weave platters out of banana leaves. One of the crew went out with his harpoon and came back with tuna or prawns which we barbecued for dinner. In the evening, we’d dine under the stars on fabulous food prepared by a Parisian Cordon Bleu cook.
The third week we stayed at the Intercontinental Thalasso Spa on Bora Bora, which must be one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
We had a house on stilts with a four-poster draped in muslin and a jacuzzi on the sunbathing deck; you could take the glass lid off the coffee table and feed the fish below.
Every morning we would canoe across the water for breakfast.
Some of our most special moments were snorkelling together – we were surrounded by a vast coral reef with crystal clear water and every kind of tropical fish. You could swim around for hours and totally forget about time. We even swam with sharks – I was nervous but they assured me it was OK. Sometimes I had to pinch myself to believe we were actually there.
Our family had been our focus for so many wonderful years, and suddenly being back to just the two of us again took some adjustment. The holiday was a really romantic way to help rekindle the togetherness.
For our next anniversary we would love to go to Sri Lanka. It’s been recommended by good friends who have travelled extensively but love it so much they now go there every year! The culture, people and beautiful scenery make it the perfect place to discover together and enjoy our shared love of nature and good food while relaxing in an amazing location.
Inspired by this story? Speak to a travel expert on beautiful French Polynesia. If you have other second honeymoon dreams, book an appointment with a travel expert to discuss your trip over a glass of champagne at Kuoni.